We are midway through another week, my Little Monsters, which means it’s time again to focus on a wonderful Woman of Horror. The focus this Wednesday is on a lovely and talented woman, who I personally wish were more of a fixture in the horror genre, Miss Fairuza Balk.
Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse is a California girl by birth, having been born in Point Reyes, CA to Solomon Feldthouse and Cathryn Balk. So taken with his baby daughter’s blue eyes, Solomon exclaimed, “Fairuza!” (which is the Farsi word for turquoise), and thus she had her name. She began her childhood, growing up in a commune in Cloverdale, CA with her mother, before they later moved on to Vancouver, British Columbia. It was at this time that Fairuza made her television acting debut in the ABC television movie, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This movie is a personal favorite of mine and my brother, and we watched it over and over on a VHS copy recorded straight from TV…even at times other than Christmas. OK, enough waxing nostalgic. A couple of years later, Fairuza relocated to the United kingdom, where she would study at the Bush Davies School of Theatre Arts and also the Royal Academy of Ballet.
At the age of eleven Fairuza beat out 1200 other young actresses for the role of Dorothy in Return To Oz, a defacto sequel (albeit an unofficial one) to the 1939 MGM classic, The Wizard of Oz. A year later she would star as Mildred Hubble, along side Tim Curry and Diana Rigg, in The Worst Witch. But it would be for her portrayal of the bad-ass witch, Nancy Downs, in The Craft that would garner her a degree of cult status. This film would also mark the first of a very few times Fairuza would appear in the horror genre. It could be argued that Fairuza deserves horror icon status, or her involvement with the much maligned John Frankenheimer film The Island of Dr. Moreau. She appeared in the film in the role of Aissa, who was supposed to be a panther/woman hybrid. However, when the film was taken out of the hands of director the films original director, Richard Stanley, and handed over to Frankenheimer, many things were changed or scrapped all together.If only they would have left Stanley to realize his original vision…ah, what could have been. Oh well…anyways. She also gained another horror credit by starring in an episode of the anthology horror series Masters of Horror titled “Pick me Up”, which was directed by the legendary Larry Cohen. The last genre piece in which she appeared, was the 2008 psychological/supernatural film Grindstone Road.
Despite the lack of horror films, Fairuza has a number of impressive films on her acting resume which include: Valmont, Gas Food Lodging, Imaginary Crimes, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, American History X, Almost Famous, Humboldt County and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans . Let’s also not forget that she showed Bobby Boucher her boobies (and he liked ’em) , as Vicki Vallencourt in Adam Sandler’s ridiculous comedy, The Waterboy. Fairuza also appeared in an episode of the HBO series The Sopranos and in 7 episodes of the Showtime series Ray Donovan, as well as appearing in 3 episodes of Celebrity Ghost Stories. She has also voiced characters on the animated series Family Guy and also on Justice League, as well as the video games Grand Theft Auto:Vice City and Lords of EverQuest.
What many might not know is that Fairuza is also something of a musician, and plays both the guitar and the piano. She has released a few singles that she has written and performed under the name Armed Love Militia.
Right now Fairuza has two upcoming films, August falls and Hell is Where the Home Is, which are currently in their post production phases. As I’ve said before, I would love to see Fairuza in more genre films, but can fully understand why she hasn’t been. At one time she expressed the fact that she did not wish to be type cast in the roles of “crazies and weirdos”. But i say embrace the crazy, because crazy can be quite versatile and come in all shapes, sizes and styles.So let’s all keep our fingers crossed and maybe she will grace our beloved genre more often with her presence.
I am really looking forward to possibly meeting Fairuza, as she will be appearing at HorrorHound in Indianapolis this coming weekend. If any of you Little Monsters out there are attending, I hope you also have the opportunity to meet her.
As is always the case, there is more to this lovely and talented lady than i can relate in the mere words upon this page. to find out more about Fairuza and what projects she has on the horizon, one can always visit her official IMDb page. But as they say in the infomercials, “BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL!” You can check our her official homepage. or give her a follow at her verified Twitter page or her Facebook page.
Well, parting is such sweet sorrow, my Little Monsters. But today I leave you with these words, once spoken by a very wise man. “I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do…except for those that were embarrassing, painful and potentially deadly…I’m actually REALLY glad I didn’t do that shit.”